Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Morgan Territory-Corral Hollow-Patterson Pass Century (2013)

March 16, 2013   Morgan Territory-Corral Hollow--Patterson Pass Century, 108 1/2 miles 7,200' climbing.  w/ Ward, Christine, Cisco Dave, Todd, Jose & the Fantastic Bicycle boys Frederick, Ray and Bart.

Official elevation from Ward Industries.  Their art division on strike so cloud graphic from Dan's Pilot Times

This was the best ride of the year.  Almost perfect weather, with a good group and I felt real good on the bike.

With the time shift back to Daylight Savings, and warmer than usual weather, I took the iron horse GT up Diablo Tuesday and Wednesday.  It's weight (w/o water bottles) 24 3/4 lbs and the first day was brutal.  On the weekend the Lightspeed that is 20 1/2 lbs seemed to fly.  Now if I can just lose 6 lbs of my body fat.

Cisco Dave has other problems.  As he has no body weight to lose he's taken to weighing wheel skewers.  Next time we ride I have to check if he has gone to carbon fibre bar ends or removed some spokes.

Lots of new riders at the Heather Farms start-but we are just getting the fastest three (PC)
Incredible crowd of cyclists at the start of our ride.  I guess the good weather brings out our club members.  But most of the people were out for a Cinderella Training ride.  We only had a handful of club members, and some were going to do a flat route instead of the Morgan Loop.   Don was going to do the easier route, I wish he had come with us as I wanted to BS with him.  We raced a few successful Doubles together--and he retired from the Doubles scene about two years ago.  I'm kinda bugged by my laid back riding style, resulting from  my decision to retire from timed doubles so nothing to train for.  Or am I laid back because I'm now much slower than I was last year and it is good that I decided to bail?   In any event I wanted to hear Don's reasoning for retiring from the grueling doubles and if he regrets his decision.  I'm not growing old gracefully.  

Dr. Dave rides by the new Botero statue in Clayton (PC)
Group ride out to Morgan Territory was good-beautiful weather.    For once no one wanted to stop after a whole 9 miles, so we all continued directly to Morgan Territory.  Its early morning so not much traffic on narrow, usually busy Marsh Creek Road, and we had a nice group over the two serious rollers before the downhill onto the start of Marsh Creek.

From the north side Marsh Creek is tree lined, the road is rough, and is a gradual climb for about half the distance.  It then turns into a very serious climb with lots of steep hairpins and short rollers.  On the flatter part Ray was in the front setting a torrid pace.   When the road kicked up regional cyclocross champ Mark took off with Cisco Dave, Frederick, Ray and Jose in pursuit.  I dropped off and was riding solo when two "kids" from Berkeley whizzed by me.  Now even when I was faster I couldn't have stayed with them for long, but I could have hung for a little, or enough time to be a pain.  Now there was no chance in hell, I didn't try, and I suddenly felt real real old.

I rode up solo, and closer to the top another guy from the Berkeley club caught up to me.  He was racing as a Cat 3 tomorrow so taking it easy today.   We rode together up the rest of the climb and I was happy he was taking it easy.

Nice long regroup at the top of Morgan Territory--sunny with almost no wind.    The way down to the South is very unlike the North side, its wide open, road is well paved, and steep.  It is also 1 1/2 lanes, UNstriped for two way traffic, and though only 2-3 cars are going up while we descend--one car is usually in the middle of the road.   Today the cars coming up were OK, but some turkey on the way down decided to park on the road and sit in their car.  When I went by I yelled out "not a good place to park"... they yelled back at Dr. Dave who was trailing "bikes shouldn't be on this road."  (I did not notice if they had a 'Flush the Johns' bumper sticker on their car.)

Morgan Territory usually means Patterson Pass but I had no clue what anyone's bonus mile plans are.  Earlier in the week Ward had sent out a Patterson Pass route with a different run in than the one we usually take that would add 10 miles.  I paid it little mind as my Marin Lighthouse ride was up for the weekend.  I mentioned this to Ward midweek and found out that Daylight Savings had messed with my mind--no, my lighthouse ride was in three weeks, that's why he sent out the bonus mile suggestion.

The usual run into Patterson Pass has us going along a great, tailwind aided, deserted 12 mile stretch-Altamont.  The alternative route, Corral Hollow, would have us coming in from the South.   As much as I love Altamont a new route sounded interesting.  Ward gave us the Weatherbug dire warning of wind on Patterson Pass--but hell, it can't be as windy as last time so it sounded good.

Cisco Dave's quick group of Ray, Frederick and Bart joined in for the bonus miles.  Luckily Ward, Christine and Todd joined so I'd have someone to ride with when I was dropped.  Jose also joined, the wild card in the group.  He is very fast but overextends himself and tries to ride right behind whoever is on the front.  So we expected he would try to stay with the lead group all day until he suddenly flamed out.  But then again I've been pacing myself much to much.

We have a real nice group going down to Corral Hollow.  Actually on the way out to Livermore we almost lost Christine.  I mentioned to Christine that we going to Corral Hollow and she thought of bailing.  She didn't know about the change in route and she's barely off the medical restricted list.  But she joined us and felt better as the day went on.

 We first started as two-three different packs of riders but close to Corral Hollow we all joined up together past the massive Lawrence Livermore Lab complex.  Ray takes frequent fliers off the front but Cisco Dave was staying with the pact today, so unless Frederick also went out to play the group hung together except on the big climbs. 

Turn into Corral Hollow--and it does start UP for a long time.  Pace was fast, Bart driving at the front.  We zoomed past a ranch with a huge horse statue in front.  Great photo op--but no thought of even slowing to take the photo as I'd never see the group again.   

Corral Hollow was OK, but a far cry from the GREAT Altamont Speedway.   There wasn't lots of traffic on it but enough where you weren't secluded like on Altamont.  The occasional horse trailer bouncing around was a popular item going past. 

Suddenly road got semi-steep--much steeper than anything on Altamont.  On any steep portion of the route Cisco Dave-Ray-Frederick pulled away, and Frederick has the same lighthouse lantern on the back of his bike that Ray has so you could easily spot them in the distance--even in full daylight.

(1) Ward, (20 Todd & Christine on Corral Hollow.  You get a struggling artist to paint over the photograph when shutter speed is too slow and picture is blury. (PC)
Off the semi-steep uphill was a steep twisty downhill.  Oh man, I missed Altamont with its easy 2-3% grade up and down.  Corral Hollow was more like 6-8%.

Nice group riding off the downhill, where road became a nice 2-3% downhill.   I regrouped with Christine and Todd and feeling real good did lots of pulling.  A few miles away Ward was waiting and he picked up the paceline.   I figured we wouldn't see the lead group until the Tracy 7-11, Todd's favorite, but all of a sudden we saw some blinking red lights.  Cop pulling a motorist over--fire truck putting out a brush fire??  No--it was Cisco-Frederick-Ray-Jose looking at a motorcross course where one part was so high and steep it looked like someone was riding a motorbike up the Empire State Building.

Motorcross rider at top of hill needs a Ray blinky light so we can follow them(PC)
We continued on and I felt real good.  I've been so passive this year waiting for the next shoe to drop, and here I revved it up.  The Cisco group quickly jumped up the road (man, they are quick) and our paceline chased with Bart, Ward, Christine and I rotating the work.  We closed to about 50' when Ray took one of his patented fliers off the front.  That got my dander up and I bridged up and counterattacked while Cisco yelled encouragement.  Yes--a highlight from 2012 that now seems decades ago.

Tracy was flat and windy.   First we got lost.  Then Bart got a flat.  At least it was warm and sunny.   It was about mile 60 and everyone was impatient to get to the  7-11, only about 2 miles down the road.  

Changing flat by the orange tractor--I want one (PC)
7-11 was in full sun, time to pull of knee warmers, t-shirt, arm warmers--yippie.  I thought Cisco Dave was a friend--I asked him to carry up two rice krispie treat bars up the Patterson Pass climb but he wouldn't.  But he did get fig newtons for our group.  Jose hiding in the shade.  Todd disappointed that his fan club not working today.  Christine and Ray working on their tans.

(1) Christine and (2) Ray hoping to get on Versus so showing off some leg before the Patterson Pass climb (PC & WI)

Meanwhile Jose hiding from the sun (PC) 

"Hey Dave, can you carry these for me??"  Ward told me I'd be more photogenic if I used Richard Nixon Debate Pancake makeup (CB)
Frederick ruins the photo, and his legend, by not getting a 7-11 Hot Dog (WI)
We start up towards Patterson Pass, and I'm telling Bart what to expect.   There is a wind and most windmills are turning, but not all at a maniac pace like last time.  So there will be a headwind on most of the climb--the headwind will intensify greatly as it squeezes over the pass near the top where the last 1/4 mile gets very steep. 

Here come a half hour of fun--the bonus mile group arrives at the foot of Patterson Pass (PC)
Christine loves Patterson Pass (PC)

Bart ain't worried-"We hebben wind en windmolens in Nederland"

Ward taking a photo of the start of his Strava Time (PC)

Patterson Pass Redux (WI)
Dave-Frederick-Ray effortlessly pull away.  For the first time in months I feel good on this climb but can't make up any ground.  I'm ahead of the rest and keep going at a businesslike pace--serious but not killer, and do take time out to slow for some photos.  In the distance I see someone withOUT a tail light-Cisco Dave--riding ahead of the dual blinking lights. 

End of Patterson Pass climb - Dr. Dave paid for product placement last week, so we had him meet us out here with snacks (PC)

I like Jose but I'm tired of him lately passing me on climbs, and if he comes up I plan to pick up the pace.  I get to that last 1/4 mile where grade and headwind picks up and I hear someone come up behind me.  Jose?  So I turn on the gas and pull away from the sound behind.  When I get to the top I see a stranger--Ward later told me the guy would get behind someone--rest for awhile--and then jump to the next person.  Soon after Ward came up with Jose and then finished in front of him.  Much, much, much nicer climb that last time.  For some reason we didn't take our traditional group photo--maybe we've become jaded and we've become used to the great view from the top.

Group stuck together very well back to Livermore, where Ward and I kinda knew a good new way back but we had only done it once so it was kinda sketchy.    Back in suburbia a pickup truck cut us off/ hit the horn angrily when we were moving out to make a left turn.  Moron in pickup was stuck at the same left turn light as we were and Chairman Ward started talking to him.  Moron yelled out "I pay taxes for the road,"  a motorist mantra where they erroneously think that roads are paid solely from the gas tax, cyclists somehow don't pay any taxes, and neglect the fact that I'd have to go over the road on bike 1000x to cause as much road wear/ damage as caused by 1 trip by their monster truck.  But no reasoning with moron and I vow never to offer facts when I hear the "I pay taxes" rant.  From now on I'm just yelling out"DO I LOOK LIKE AN FN CHURCH?--I PAY TAXES ALSO!!"

"Get off my road--I pay taxes and have a clever bumper sticker that says 'FLUSH THE JOHNS" (stupidass sticker that means the driver supported Bush for a 2nd term)  says driver of Dodge 4x4 Lic: 6C83209"  Judge Judy would say "Sir, you are a moron" (WI)
Oh man--moron is right, I didn't know about the tax credit for cyclists (State of CA-Franchise Tax Board)
Another flat by Livermore coffee shoppe, where Frederick does his best startling Bart to spill his coffee when tyre blows off the rim.   Ray and I agree that coffee can't be close to being as good as the coffe we had the day we were hit by the cold gale force winds on Paterson Pass.  We get started and I feel real good until a few quick cramps in my leg--fn vein problem.   Spinning awhile in an easier gear settles me down.  Only problem all day.
We get to Collier with a slight crosswind where Dave-Ray-Frederick pace everyone off their wheel (once again.)    I ride with Bart and find out he's from the same hometown of one of my cycling heros--Servais Knaven.  Servais held the record for most finishes in Paris Roubaix while winning one (as opposed to everyone's elses former hero, Lancy, who avoided the toughest one day bike ride.)  I find out that Servais' parents owned a "fast food" restaurant, which means "bread it and fry it" or french fries and mayo.   Hmmm--secret tough man cyclist training diet.

The Cycling FANATICS boys--the got the FU, New York version of the jersey (PC)

Cisco Dave is ready for another LOUD Frederick tyre change (PC)
Cisco Dave ameliorates his pace and pulls everyone up to Blackhawk, and we continue as a group until Walnut Creek.  Still sunny out--still warm--no regrets for pulling off clothes.  We have a good paceline where Jose pulls a rookie mistake, Ward takes a long pull, pulls off and motions for @2 rider to come forward but Jose just slows and looks like he is going to duck back behind Ward.  We avoid a big bike pileup, reorganize, and safely finish the ride.   

Great ride, beautiful day.  Really nice group.    I opined 7,000' feet of climbing and the official Chairman Ward measurement hit that.

Next day I stay local and take a recovery ride where I eventually meet up with Mrs. Pumpkin.  For the solo part I put a power amp on the back of my steel bike, it now weights 32 lbs (take that weight weenie Cisco Dave.)  Fun blasting the tunes until some turkey comes along on the only climb of the day and 'red faced' tries to jump ahead of me, so I have to put in an effort to zoom away.      When I meet up with Mrs Pumpkin she rides slowly during guitar solos but picks up the pace when disco music blasts through the Blaupunkts--so the bike stereo and +12 lbs was worth it.


Earphones are dangerous--get a bike stereo

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